Eye Care

Act 579: Have You Been Asked For Your Signature Lately?

Canvassers across our state have been asking Arkansas voters to sign a petition that would put Act 579 on the 2020 general election ballot. This referendum attempt would essentially put the physical enactment of Act 579, which has already been passed through our Arkansas House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson, on hold yet again until Arkansas voters saw the issue on the ballot next fall. Many of these canvassers perpetuated the spread of misinformation regarding the educational and clinical training of Doctorate of Optometry programs today by essentially insinuating, that DOCTORS of optometry are no more than certified clinicians.

After days of debate, the Arkansas Secretary of State informed Safe Surgery Arkansas (the group led by local ophthalmologists behind the referendum attempt) that they did not meet the requirements to have their referendum of Act 579 placed on the 2020 ballot. This was due, in part, to the illegal collection of signatures by Safe Surgery Arkansas’ canvassers state-wide. A total of 53, 491 signatures were required, but only 23,953 were tallied, as they were the only ones deemed to be collected legally.

Arkansas optometrists do not expect that this will be the end of the debate over Act 579, but for now, we can push ahead in the process to implement State Board requirements for doctors met in order to practice under the new statues. This will allow optometric physicians like Dr. Watson to provide the widest scope of practice to their patients by performing procedures they were trained to perform (and Dr. Watson DID perform as a student doctor in Oklahoma) for the citizens of Arkansas.

Arkansas House Bill 1251

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, Arkansas House Bill 1251 passed on the state Senate floor, and was advanced to the governor to sign into state law. HB 1251 updates the antiquated scope of practice for optometry in our state that has been in place for over 20 years. During these two decades, technological advances in eye health care have drastically expanded, as has the curriculum in optometric education accordingly. Prior to its passage, optometrists in 18 other states (including a few of our neighboring states) held a wider scope of practice than that of Arkansas optometrists. During her optometric education and training at NSUOCO (in Oklahoma where it is already within the optometry scope), Dr. Watson and her classmates were trained and did perform these procedures on patients as student doctors. The passage of this bill will allow Arkansas optometrists to expand the services available to patients including some minimally-invasive procedures to remove lesions or skin tags from around the eye using injectable numbing medications and to perform two specific laser procedures (one for glaucoma and another for post-cataract surgery haze) once they receive updated certification to do so. It is our hope that once Governor Hutchinson signs the bill into law, Arkansas optometrists can offer our patients the most comprehensive eye care services possible.

Opening Day: Dream or Nightmare?

Have you ever dreamed of something and it actually came true? That is exactly what happened the first day we opened our doors for business. Well, the dream came true, but it almost turned into a nightmare. We started off unlocking the front door, turning on the lights, and opening the exam rooms. We made sure everything in the office was straight, the television and music was powered on, and we then smiled at each other. We had patients booked on our schedule (they were family), and everything felt right. “Felt” is the keyword here because everything went left once the patients arrived. The pretesting and exam went fine, but the actual recording of data in our electronic medical records system was sub-par. Our practice is operated solely by Kristopher and Dr. Celina Watson, so the networking and daily maintenance is performed by those two as well. Our network seemed to not perform correctly, even though, it was tested the week before to make sure opening day would be running smoothly. None of our tablets, laptops, or PCs would communicate properly with our server. The disappointment and frustration we experienced is something we would never wish on anyone. To say that our first exam times were longer than expected is an understatement. On the other hand, we were glad we had our family as the first patients, and that we had hiccups to help us learn troubleshooting. The take home would be to dream big, expect the unexpected, and be glad your dream finally came true!

Opening Soon

As our construction winds down, we are happy to announce that our speculated opening date will be November 20, 2018. It seems that this has been a long time coming, and we could not be any more excited. We look forward to serving the Little Rock area not just in our brick and mortar building, but also throughout the community. We would love to help you with all your eye care needs, so to schedule an appointment click the “request appointment” link above or email us at manager@cklearvision.com. We hope to see you soon.